Silicones Reach New Heights
As the world watched the inauguration of the Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai as the world’s tallest building on Jan. 4, Dow Corning silicones were helping to protect the skyscraper from the harsh desert climate and promote its energy efficiency.
The Burj Khalifa, formerly called Burj Dubai, extends 828 meters (more than half a mile) above ground level and is visible from 95 km in all directions. The 160-level building will also house the world’s highest mosque (on the 158th floor) and highest swimming pool (on the 78th floor).
The Burj Khalifa set the record for the tallest installation of an aluminum, silicone and glass façade, and required record-breaking quantities of steel bars and concrete for its construction. With more than 24,000 cladding panels over a total curtain-wall area of 132,000 square meters, the building’s shimmering façade minimizes heat transmission and saves energy. The cladding materials were specially made using advanced engineering techniques and include high-performance reflective glazing, silicone sealants and structural adhesives, aluminum mullions, and textured steel spandrels with vertical stainless-steel tubular fins.
“We’ve been involved in many of the world’s landmark buildings for more than 60 years, through curtain wall structural glazing, assembly and weatherproofing, insulating glass assembly, and interior sealing. That experience and the proven performance of our silicone technologies played a critical role in this project,” said Ron Fillmore, global executive director for Dow Corning’s Construction Industry.
The Burj Khalifa project proved unique in size, complexity and global industry cooperation. The harsh environment presented another challenge, as the construction materials must stand the test of time in the desert.
“We love these sorts of challenges at Dow Corning. They’re perfectly aligned with the properties of our silicones, which are incredibly durable and ideal for such a demanding environment,” said Jean-Paul Hautekeer, Global Marketing manager for Building Projects. The solutions for the Burj Khalifa tower included Dow Corning’s global project support services, which are now marketed as an integrated program called Quality Bond®.
“Dow Corning® Quality Bond lifts silicone bonding and sealing to a new level through the introduction of a collection of services and commitments for all members in the construction project specification chain. They offer guaranteed performance and peace of mind,” said Tim Efthimiady, Construction Industry commercial director for Europe and the Middle East. “The Burj Khalifa was the ideal opportunity to offer our Quality Bond program to the various companies involved in the project - from the curtain wall and glass contractor to the main contractor, architect, and consultant.”
Dow Corning’s work is based on four decades of leadership in innovation, from the first four-sided structural glazing systems to the latest research in construction technologies. The company continues its commitment to investments in silicone-based solutions that can create innovative, durable and sustainable curtain-wall systems.